Jesse Compher’s hard work is paying off in her Olympic debut: ‘She clocks as many hours as any player in the NHL’

BEIJING, CHINA - FEBRUARY 06:  Forward Jesse Compher #18 of Team United States celebrates her goal in the first period against Team Switzerland during the Women's Preliminary Round Group A match at Wukesong Sports Center on February 06, 2022 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
By Peter Baugh Feb 11, 2022 23
The FaceTime conversations were chaotic, rushed and a little disjointed. They were beautiful, too — a newly minted Olympian sharing a lifetime achievement with the people she loves most.

Jesse Compher called her parents first after getting the news Dec. 11, about a week earlier than expected. Valerie had just gotten out of the shower when she picked up the phone, and Bob was exercising in the basement. “I need to talk to both of you,” Jesse said, urging her mom to interrupt Bob’s workout. Finally, when she had both her parents standing in the kitchen, she told them she’d made it through the final round of cuts. She was heading to Beijing with the U.S. hockey team.

“My hands flew to my mouth,” Valerie says. “My eyes started watering.”

Next, Jesse looped in her older siblings, J.T. and Morgan. J.T., an NHL forward with the Avalanche, answered from a Denver Target, where he was shopping for Christmas decorations. He didn’t hear Jesse at first, but after she raised her voice and repeated herself, the words sunk in. A mask covered J.T.’s mouth, but his eyes widened with shock and excitement. Morgan then picked up, too, and heard the news sitting with her friends in a New York City bar.

“Remember the saying ‘I’m crying in the club?’” Valerie says. “Well, they were all crying in the club.”

“I’ll probably remember finding out that news for the rest of my life,” J.T. adds. “We were so happy for her. So much hard work has gone into it.”

The news wasn’t a surprise given that Jesse had represented the U.S. at the previous two world championships, but it was a relief and a testament to the work Jesse put in.